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Episode 65 : Michael Watts on Melody Maker + Swamp Dogg + Cramps audio

9 March 2020

In this week's episode, Mark & Barney are joined by a not-so-"Anonymous" Michael Watts, who regales his hosts with tales of life as the Walsall Observer's "Mick" Watts before reminiscing about his halcyon days as one of Melody Maker's star '70s scribes.

Watts waxes poetic – not to mention humorous – about his encounters with David Bowie, Bob Dylan, the Sex Pistols and others, and about the Maker's rivalry with the N(ew) M(usical) E(xpress). Mark & Barney grill him on the MM's response to punk and hear about colleagues such as Richard Williams and Caroline Coon.

After a brief discussion of the week's featured artist, hilarious country-soul eccentric Swamp Dogg, the trio hear the first of two clips from Martin Aston's 1986 audio interview with Lux Interior and Poison Ivy Rorschach, prompting conversation about the Cramps' inspired mash-up of '50s psychobilly and sub-Hollywood horror – and, 11 years after Lux's death, the band's unique place in post-punk rock'n'roll. [Note: the first audio clip actually features Lux & Ivy talking about original Cramps guitarist Bryan Gregory rather than about producer Alex Chilton. Apologies for our erratum.]

Finally, as Mark presents his highlights of RBP's new library additions, Barney & Michael pitch in with asides on Lou Reed, Talking Heads … and Michael's Chiswick neighbour Sophie Ellis-Bextor!

Many thanks to special guest Michael Watts; for more of his writing, please visit his writer's page.